Saturday, June 19, 2010


From my living room couch I can look into my kitchen and see the glass door to the pantry.

When I’m not out for a prayer walk around my neighborhood, I like to sit on the end of the couch close to the window for my morning devotions. Our springer spaniel, Zeke, may wander over and sit at my feet, and Scottie my cat may jump up on the couch to curl beside me. But usually it’s me, a cup of tea, my Bible, and God.

From this cozy spot I can either look through the window to the backyard trees, or glance at the glass pantry door and see a reflection of those same trees and flowering shrubs moving in the breeze.

Often when I see only a glimpse of a scene, or a reflection in glass, it strikes me as a doorway to another world—a magical place I long to go. The same sort of feeling a favorite book does for me—like Heidi taking me up the Swiss Alps, or Ash and Anjuli-bai whisking me off to long-ago India.

In case you haven’t realized, there’s a strong streak of imagination to my inner person. You’d never know it when you look at me, though. On the outside, no one could be more banal, prosaic, or no-nonsense. In the Lord’s dealings with me, most decisions boil down to good old common sense. After all, He gave us a brain and expects us to use it. But this dream-like aspect to my soul colors a great deal of my relationship with the Lord.

This is not to say my faith is airy-fairy. Walking with God can be terribly reasonable at times. Christ’s atoning death on the cross couldn’t be more logical.

God the Father is perfect Justice.

Humanity broke God’s laws.

Someone had to pay the penalty.

No human court of law could get more down to earth than this need to set things right. That truth, and my acceptance of what Christ did for me, is as real as the silver birch in my backyard. But the fact that the Son of God set aside His glory to come to dusty old earth to make that sacrifice, sky rockets that event into the supernatural, the unexplainable—something only an omnipotent God could come up with.

When I sit on the corner of my couch with my cup of tea and my Bible, my eye leaves the reality of my backyard and strays more often to the reflection in the glass. Sunlight dances in the leaves. Clematis and mock orange blossoms throw out dashes of color. The scene in the glass shows me a familiar place, yet not quite. My inner walking with the God of my Bible draws me to think far and above, to break free from mere common sense to the...enchanting.

Like the poets say—to dream. Do we humans stop ourselves from taking great leaps of faith because we would rather cling to the down-to-earth when our hearts hunger to soar for the impossible?

Colossians 3:1 "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God."

Saturday, June 12, 2010


As I write the Children’s Camps International book, I’m constantly encouraged by what the people involved in this ministry have to say. There are times I wish I had the book written right now, so others could benefit from the words of wisdom I’ve gleaned from the recorded interviews. But that wisdom is currently making its way into the narrative of the CCI story.

These past few months I’ve had difficult decisions to make, about selling our house, what I should do in regards to my career, and financial decisions that will affect the rest of my life. They're the same sort of worries that disturb the rest of mankind’s sleep at night.

Last week I shared one of the events that happened to CCI in the midst of trying times—an event that bolstered my faith that gets a bit wimpy at times. Today, I want to share a sampling of quotes from Ray Wieler, President of CCI, from Anthony Samy of India Bible Camps Ministry and a few of his staff. The Lord has used some of these words of wisdom to help me make hard decisions lately.

Anthony Samy “Today’s possibilities are tomorrow’s miracles.”

Moses (IBCM—Staff Accountant): “Before when I was a Hindu, I was very rich. But I had no peace. Now I follow Jesus. I am poor in personal money, but I have great peace.”

Anthony preaching to Indian pastors: “Don't ask for a blessing. You must do something for a blessing. You must sow something to reap a blessing. It simply won't just come to you. Sow your work, your time, as well as your money. Sow your man-power. Isaac planted and received 100 times. But do not go after money. Go to God for your needs.”

Pastor Hendry (Staff member of IBCM): “This teaching of children was a new thing. Before this we found it easy to teach adults. It is harder to teach children. We were very much interested in reaching adults instead. But in the camping ministry, to teach children, you must act like children to get their attention. You must play like a child. Think like a child. Not everyone can do this. It is difficult.”

Ray Wieler: ”Is there a better way? Another alternative? Can we take the cost of what it would be to send one missionary into a country, and instead use that same amount of money to work with hundreds of pastors who would then run children’s camps in their churches? CCI prefers to work for the indigenous pastors that are already there. There is already an established church. By taking the same amount of money for one missionary and working with a much bigger organization (the Church) we can multiply the effectiveness. The universal church is already there—the largest potential pool of volunteers in the world.”

Ray “An empty (camp) bed is a lost opportunity, and a child on a waiting list is a lost opportunity.”

D. L. Moody "Blessed are the money raisers, for in heaven they shall stand next to the martyrs."

Ray "Each time you ask for money for even the greatest of causes, you die a little each time.”

Anthony “There is plenty of food in India, but the people worship rats and cows. Tons of food is wasted each year because when the people see a cow or a rat in their rice paddy, they think, ‘Oh good, our god is having a nice lunch.’ Not thinking that animal is eating food that should be for them. Knowing that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, sets you free. Then you can chase that cow out of the rice paddy. India has more cattle than all of North America, but she is starving because of false worship. Jesus is the solution to every problem. He is the Living Water, the Bread of Life.”

Ray speaking to the Visiting Canadian team to India 2010 “There is a leadership exercise for team development for camp staff that I’ve used in the past. No one comes to camp to sit around. Everyone has a part to play. Everyone must be actively involved. The moment someone is missing, it becomes harder for everyone else.

A group of 20 or 30 people carries a hydro pole that weighs about 100 pounds through some track. The moment someone starts to slack off, we ask them to sit on the pole. In the beginning it’s just a joke. People are laughing. But when 5 or 6 people are sitting on the pole it gets harder. The joke is over. The people sitting on the pole realize they have become a part of the burden the others must carry.

During debriefing, those who sat on the pole are often in tears. They were not carrying the burden.

What we like to see is every young person equipped to further God’s Kingdom. We want to make kingdom builders. What impact we will play in that, we don’t know. But if we could only envision what that would look like, if everyone would take up the task of kingdom building.”

Saturday, June 05, 2010


As I listen and transcribe the interviews for the story of Children’s Camps International, I am continually awed. One of the stories is about the Harvest event CCI organized in 2006 to raise awareness and support for their overseas children’s camp work. This story will be going into the book I’m writing, but I can’t stand the excitement and need to share some of that with readers now.

The leadership of CCI is always on the lookout for projects that will bring in prayer and funding for this aspect of God’s work. In the winter of 2006 they came up with the idea of beating the Guinness World Record for harvesting a wheat field. Local businessmen and farmers donated land, time, resources, seed, fertilizer, tractors, and 105 combines...everything needed to plant and harvest a quarter section in record time.

The day in August came at last. The wheat was ready. That morning Ray Weiler, president of CCI, opened his laptop to check the weather, and God spoke to him. “What are you doing?”

Ray sat back. Why was he looking at the forecast when he could talk to the One who controls the forecast? He closed his laptop and prayed.

At 10:30 Ray joined the farmers congregating at the field. Their combines were ready to go. Ray and the farmers walked along the wheat. The media and a helicopter was scheduled to arrive at 1 pm. Thousands of spectators were coming. Entertainment was going to be provided. The curtain was about to go up.

Then the farmers looked at the sky, pushed their caps back, and stuck their hands in their pockets. Some pretty big clouds were coming their way. “We need to harvest right now, or that rain is going to soak the wheat.”

“We can’t do that,” Ray said. “If it rains it rains.”

The farmers shook their heads and grumbled. Tension crackled between Ray and the farmers as much as it did in the atmosphere. A storm was coming. Every instinct in these farmers was that rain would finish them. They needed to cut that field now.

Ray walked a distance from them and prayed. After months of organization, after the pledges of people, after all the prayer and encouragement from God—was this project going to fall flat, go out with a whimper? Would God test him that much? They needed more prayer—serious prayer.

He drove to his house and phoned Anthony of the India Bible Camps in Tamil Nadu. “Tell your staff in India we need prayer. The farmers aren’t listening to me.”

Ray ended his call and continued to pray. Five minutes later the house shook. Windows rattled. Lighting had hit somewhere. Ray raced back to the field.

The farmers came up to him with tremulous grins, their eyes wide with awe. “Lightning struck the field, as we were standing on it. It fried one of the guy’s cell phones in his pocket. Another guy’s arm is still tingling.”

Another farmer came up to Ray. “We weren't going to listen to you, but when God sent the lightning, we stopped. We listened.”

The rain fell. But the clouds rolled around the field. The surrounding area was soaked just as the farmers predicted. Later the farmers slapped each other on the back and laughed. God had sent only enough moisture onto the field to dampen the dust as the combines roared across the wheat. That tiny bit of rain that landed on the field lessened the chances of fire with so many vehicles on the field at one time.

CCI beat the harvesting record that day, but for some obscure paper technicality, Guinness didn’t give the record to them.

But CCI is going to do it again—even bigger, faster. The 2006 Harvest was the rehearsal. Harvest 2010 will be the show. It is an event I am planning to attend this August 7 in Winkler, Manitoba.

If you’d like to know more about this event, and how you can pray for it, or support it, here’s the website, Harvest for Kids, and click here for their face book account. Make them your Facebook friend to keep up on how the Harvest is going. If you drop by their Facebook and say hi, please tell them Christine sent you.

There will also be a coffee table book you can purchase that will highlight parts of the CCI story, as well as the Harvest. And maybe I’ll even have an article or two in that book as well.

I hope you’ll join me and many others as we support this event, and this very worthy organization. It’s for the kids—the kids all over the world who need to hear about Christ.